Archive For The “Learning” Category

The preserve of the tongue-tied

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The preserve of the tongue-tied

Mrs Miller moved like a tortoise. All her movements were slow, nothing sudden, nothing jerky; she was certainly not someone to be hurried. It was a concern about her shortness of breath that brought her to the clinic, and the diagnosis was soon clear; she had developed asthma. But, for her sake, her eerie slowness also needed…

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How six good notes saved WW2

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How six good notes saved WW2

This story, which spans almost seventy years, starts in the late 1940s when my wife Rohan was still a New Zealand toddler. Before she left for England aged three, she had two favourite babysitters, Ted and Margaret. Both were music students and, as it transpires, both shared a happy disregard for the perfectly-tuned piano. Fast…

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The Man who taught his Dog to play Chess

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The Man who taught his Dog to play Chess

Can you teach a shaggy dog new tricks? Graham Dukes knows a man who can… Some seventeen years ago – yes, it was 1999 – I made up my mind to become famous.  It all started at a second-hand bookstall, where I picked up what had once been a correspondence course for budding writers of fiction….

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Reopening gambit

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Reopening gambit

After closely observing my peers, I have concluded that when people retire their approach to life remains much the same as it did when they were earning – busy people stay busy and lazy people do rather little. During my own career I was actually too busy – some say a workaholic! My days were…

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In search of humble pie

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In search of humble pie

In general, my French lessons follow a fairly standard format. After a session in which we catch up on the French news and on any important student news, our teacher goes round the table asking each of us in turn if we have a presentation to offer. Most of us will have prepared something and,…

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Come all ye faithful

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Remembering our histories is part of the human condition. In a week or so, on 5th of November to be precise, people all over Britain will light bonfires, let off fireworks and burn effigies. As a nation we will once again commemorate the night in 1605 when the attempt by Guy Fawkes to burn down…

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An artisan and a gentleman

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An artisan and a gentleman

For a year now I have been dreaming of working once again with wood. A twenty-year carpentry gap is quite enough. In June the perfect excuse arrived and it has shaped my summer. My wife’s birthday was at the end of the summer, and it was an important one too – her seventieth. In June…

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Being there

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This is the story of a piano concert that caused a family debate that still rumbles on. The seeds of the debate had been sown earlier at a classical music concert in the fifteenth century chapel in Pont-Croix, a village a few miles from our Brittany home. After the concert, my wife and I talked…

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